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Report Card 2009

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Boston University
College Sustainability Report Card 2009

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Courtesy of Boston University

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $1,101 million as of June 30, 2007

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Enrollment: 29,596

Type: Private


Campus Survey: Yes

Dining Survey: Yes

Endowment Survey: Yes


Data compiled from independent research and survey responses from schools. For information on data collection and evaluation, please see the Methodology  section.

Overall grade  
B -
The university's strategic plan includes institutional commitments to practice responsible stewardship of the environment and to reduce emissions. To this end, BU employs two full-time energy managers and is planning on expanding its sustainability staff to include a sustainability director and communications coordinator. Faculty and staff serve on the Sustainability Steering Committee, which identifies opportunities and priorities for the university's sustainability initiatives.
After the completion of a campus-wide environmental survey in 2007, the university has implemented a variety of energy conservation measures. In conjunction with ongoing standard efficiency upgrades for lighting and mechanical systems, the university has installed a new state-of-the-art burner and combustion management system for one power plant, helping to increase its efficiency and reduce emissions.
Dining services spends almost 20 percent of its budget on locally sourced food, working with 40 farms and 85 different producers. Dining halls serve fair trade coffee and numerous organic products. As of fall 2008, 75 percent of to-go containers will be biodegradable, with a nearly total elimination of Styrofoam. In addition to standard materials, the university's recycling program also accepts electronic waste.
The university is committed to a standard of LEED certifiable design for all new construction projects and has a LEED-certified building. A new construction project features a geothermal heat pump system to power its heating and cooling system. Renovation projects incorporate high-efficiency systems, local materials, and low-VOC paints.
The Environmental Student Organization organizes a variety of activities, including Step it Up, PowerShift, and the Campus Climate Challenge. They are currently proposing an optional green fee. There is also a BU Energy Club and a student government sustainability committee. Facilities hires student sustainability interns.
The university provides an intercampus shuttle service, participates in a commercial car-sharing program, and organizes a variety of ridesharing initiatives. Students and staff are eligible for discounts on transit passes, and carpools have designated parking spaces. The university owns three hybrid vehicles.
Information on endowment holdings is made primarily available to the school community, but also to the public at the investment office. The university makes its shareholder voting record available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy funds.
A member of the university administration determines proxy votes.
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